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Caledonian Sleeper 11-day strike begins tomorrow

By Gavin Musgrove

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Caledonian Sleeper service will not operate for 11 nights from tomorrow unless there is a late, late breakthrough.
Caledonian Sleeper service will not operate for 11 nights from tomorrow unless there is a late, late breakthrough.

Rail union RMT has confirmed that strike action on the Caledonian Sleeper will go ahead for 11 days from tomorrow.

RMT claims Serco, which operates the Inverness-London service, has attempted to "impose a pay freeze" on staff.

Mick Lynch, the union's general secretary, said: "Serco need to stop their ongoing campaign of misinformation to both passengers and staff alike and respond positively to the union approach for urgent talks.

"The wholesale cancellation of sleeper services for the durat‎ion of the strike is entirely down to their intransigence and refusal to discuss pay justice for their staff.

"It is frankly ludicrous that the company seem happy to just write off services for the best part of a fortnight when talks that could broker a solution are staring them in the face.

"The union remains available for talks aimed at resolving this dispute and we await a positive response from the company."

Bosses had initially sought to ensure some services could go ahead but, after a review, a decision was made to cancel.

Kathryn Darbandi, Serco’s managing director, said: "The proposed strike action by the RMT is both unjustified and very disappointing, and will impact thousands of guests due to travel in the period at a time when we should all be working together to rebuild the Scottish economy.

"It will also harm our hard-working staff who will lose significant earnings as a result.

"Throughout the pandemic, we have protected staff, all of whom have received full pay even though our services have been significantly reduced.

"We have also been clear that we fully intend to resume pay talks next year, once the business is in a stronger position.

"We remain open to discussions aimed at resolving the dispute, but in the meantime, we have had no choice but to prepare for the strike to go ahead.

"Unfortunately, as a result we have taken the difficult decision to cancel our services."

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